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Sailing on Saturday with WM Nixon
A long way from the Swiss lakes…..SSE Renewables Round Ireland Race Line Honours Winner Kuka3 (Franco Niggeler, Switzerland) is a Cookson 50, a classic Bruce Farr design which has been at the forefront of the top offshore races for twenty years
We can only be wishing this morning that the traditional-type low pressure areas which march across the Atlantic from New England towards Old Ireland could take aboard some of the strict Sabbatarianism of the regions they’re passing through in their…
The Round Ireland Start of 2014. It was the last time a Volvo 70 raced, but there are two taking part today. Overall winner was the Sydney 36 Tanit (right foreground) navigated by Richie Fearon of Lough Swilly YC, who races this year on the Grand Soleil 44 Samatom
With the four year pandemic-imposed gap since the previous edition in 2018, today’s restoration of the biennial SSE Renewables Round Ireland Race from Wicklow has been attracting an unprecedented amount of countdown attention and discussion. There has been an across-the-board…
The unique pre-start scene in Wicklow Harbour, with the classic coastline looking its picture-postcard best
After 42 years of the 704 miles biennial Round Ireland Yacht Race from Wicklow, there must be hundreds – indeed, possibly thousands - of sailors throughout Ireland and beyond who will be pausing thoughtfully from time to time during the…
The essence of summertime for the Howth 17s Aura, Gladys and Isobel as captured by artist Carol O’Mara. These 1898-vintage boats are among 12 keelboat classes contesting this weekend’s Wave Regatta at Howth, where each fleet will have an O’Mara illustration included in their prizes. Illustration courtesy Ian & Judith Malcolm and Carol O’Mara
How can you make sense of a sport which features at least 143 World Championships? It’s a question which was first asked many years ago when the then International Sailing Federation (now World Sailing) accorded official “International” status to two…
The completion of the international-standard Marina in Bangor Bay in 1984 enabled Ballyholme Bay (top) to remain as clear water, ideal for dinghy racing and junior sailing, with soothingly unspoilt countryside along its eastern shore at Ballymacormick Point
There has been a surprisingly mixed reaction to the news that next weekend, in celebration of the Royal Platinum Jubilee, the sailing-mad town of Bangor on Belfast Lough will be conferred with City Status. Joy has not been unalloyed. Apart…
Round Ireland veteran skipper with new boat – France’s Eric de Turckheim is headed for the Wicklow start on June 18th with his latest boat, the NMYD 54 Teasing Machine.
They’d seven entries in the first Fastnet Race of 1925, and seven entries started yesterday morning in the inaugural 240-mile Kinsale YC Inishtearacht Race - there and back from Kinsale, round the only lighthouse island of Ireland’s furthest west Blasket…
“Which way would you lordship like the castle to face this year?” Over the centuries, Howth Castle (left) has faced in different directions
You need to be several different people at once in order to thrive in Howth sailing. A classic case in point is former HYC Commodore Brian Turvey. His current highest-profile role - ahead of other deeply committed personal involvements -…
The ketch Ilen adds something exotic to the already complex London skyline
These past few days have been purest serendipity for historic Irish boatbuilders. Just two days after the 1926-vintage West Cork-built Limerick ketch Ilen was celebrated beside the River Thames in London on Wednesday, the 1937 Tyrrell of Arklow 43ft ketch…
The accelerating season of 2022 – the first “proper” sailing season for three years – has revealed even greater enthusiasm for Ireland’s classic classes, arousing hopes that even the Dublin Bay 24s might be brought back to life as a class. One of the highlights of their later years was the Dun Laoghaire Woodenboat Regatta of 1997, with the mood captured aboard the leading DB24 Harmony (Johnston brothers, left & right), with Dr Barbara O’Hanlon, widow of former owner Dr Rory O’Hanlon, in the hatchway, while the late Cass Smullen trims the sheets, and Tim Pearson supervises the Universe from the afterdeck.
We hear so much about the “New Normal” in everyday life ashore that it’s becoming difficult to remember what the Old Normal was like, as employers resort to bribery (“Special Bonuses” if you insist) to entice WFH employees back into…
Gentle start to a great voyage – Saoirse getting under way in Dun Laoghaire on June 20th 1923
Barry Keane and Tony Doherty of Mountaineering Ireland have formally proposed that commemorative postage stamps be issued to celebrate the up-coming Centenary of Conor O’Brien’s pioneering voyage round the world south of the Great Capes with his Irish-built 42ft ketch…
The start of a stellar career. Peter Beamish (RStGYC) racing his new Mills 31 Aztec to success in the 1996 Lambay Race at Howth
With at least four Mark Mills-designed Cape 31s making their Irish class debut at the Wave Regatta in Howth from June 3rd to 5th, we will see one very important wheel come full circle. For it was a 31ft Mark…
Joe Woodward in 2004 with the William Van der Hagen 1738 painting of the Water Club sailing in Cork Harbour, which made for one of his most historic auctions.
Joe Woodward of Cork, who has died aged 90, was the very personification of the spirit of Cork city and harbour as a place where the good things in life are there to be enjoyed, and enjoyed in style. This…
Volvo Cork Week in full cry – as normality returns, this is the sort of sailing Ireland does best
The past two years would have been difficult enough for Irish sailing as we navigated our way - usually with reasonable success – towards keeping our sport as active as possible through various manifestations of the pandemic regulations. But in…
Barcelona waterfront
The revelation that the mighty Spanish sailing resort and port city of Barcelona has been secretly putting together a powerful hosting bid for the 2024 America’s Cup in the heart of vibrant Catalonia has been bruising news down Cork Harbour…
Seasoned campaigners: The First 310 More Mischief (Grzegorz Kalinecki, Dun Laoghaire, left) and the J/122 Aurelia (Chris Power Smith, RStGYC, right) are Numbers 1 and 3 in the growing entry list for the SSE Renewables Round Ireland race from Wicklow on June 18th 2022
For most of us, the pandemic has been a matter of two years in limbo. And it maybe isn’t over yet, even if everyone is behaving as though we’re well into the end game. But for gallant little Wicklow Sailing…
“Keep calm and carry on….” Shannon One Design Senior Statesman Alan Algeo – a former Lough Ree YC Commodore – looking notably serene in the midst of a developing situation
While the sailing programme during the past two years has managed to be played out afloat in a truncated form whenever changing regulations permitted, anything which involved a significant shoreside element of socialising was either cancelled completely, or else moth-balled…

William M Nixon has been writing about sailing in Ireland and internationally for many years, with his work appearing in leading sailing publications on both sides of the Atlantic. He has been a regular sailing columnist for four decades with national newspapers in Dublin, and has had several sailing books published in Ireland, the UK, and the US. An active sailor, he has owned a number of boats ranging from a Mirror dinghy to a Contessa 35 cruiser-racer, and has been directly involved in building and campaigning two offshore racers. His cruising experience ranges from Iceland to Spain as well as the Caribbean and the Mediterranean, and he has raced three times in both the Fastnet and Round Ireland Races, in addition to sailing on two round Ireland records. A member for ten years of the Council of the Irish Yachting Association (now the Irish Sailing Association), he has been writing for, and at times editing, Ireland's national sailing magazine since its earliest version more than forty years ago

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